Friday, Sept. 27, 2013

Chicago Writers Conference 2013 Kick-Off Party and Performance
Location: Open Books Bookstore

Special Reading: Chicago Stories Presented by This Much is True
Featured Readers: Stephanie Douglass, Larry Kerns, Arlene Malinowski, and Scott Whitehair

Join us for some socializing, literary fun, and drinks as we kick off the 2013 Conference. Stop by, introduce yourself, mingle with other writers and enjoy an evening of entertainment. Hosted by our charitable partner, Open Books.

P.S. – Open Books takes donations of used books! Bring ‘em by!

6:30 – 9:00 pm
Open Books Bookstore
213 W. Institute Place (right off of the Brown Line Chicago stop)


Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013

Chicago Public Library – Harold Washington Library Center


Pritzker Auditorium

Multi-Purpose Room

9:00-9:25 – CHECK IN


Welcome: Learn Between the Lines

Mare Swallow, Founder, Chicago Writers Conference


Talk How to Be Your Publisher’s Favorite Author

Once you turn in that manuscript, your work is not done. Even if you’re not yet published, find out how to best work with your publisher.

Doug Seibold, President, Agate Publishing

The Journey to Publication

Chicago Authors share their stories and insights from the long and winding road to becoming published.

Moderator: Mike Stephen, Outside the Loop Radio

Mary Robinette Kowal, Author, Glamourist Histories
Adam McOmber, Author, The White Forest
Christine Sneed, Author, Little Known Facts


The Truth About Using Social Media to Sell Books

Social Media provides a myriad of exciting opportunities to build communities around common interests. This is especially helpful when you have stories to share and sell. The problem: Very few people are using these tools in a efficient and effective way. Learn best practices for building a robust community of influencers and how to connect with them in a way that provides mutual value.

Shannon Downey, Founder, Pivotal Chicago

Lend Me Your Ears…Writing for Audio and Podcast

Local podcast and radio producers Julie Shapiro and Mike Stephen share best practices for taking your words from the page to your listener’s ears.

Moderator: Ian Belknap, Write Club

Julie Shapiro, Artistic Director, Third Coast Festival
Mike Stephen, Creator and Host, Outside the Loop Radio


Build Your Platform

Get a handle on what every industry professional is talking about: platform. Learn what platform is, why every author needs one, and where to begin–no matter where you are in the publishing process.

Amanda Luedeke, Literary Agent, MacGregor Literary

Panel Meet the Publishers

Three Chicago-area publishers share their insights, and what they do and don’t want to see from writers.

Moderator: Noah Cruickshank, A.V. Club Staff Writer

Jonathan Messinger, Publisher, featherproof books
Emily Victorson, Publisher, Allium Press
Cynthia Sherry, Publisher, Chicago Review Press





The Medium and The Message

Learn how the tools you use affect your writing, and how switching methods will force your writing to move at a different speed.

Mary Robinette Kowal, Author, the Glamourist Histories

Add Laughter to Your Writing… Seriously

From original comedy to satire and sarcasm, learn tips on injecting humor into your words.

Moderator: Mike Stephen, Outside the Loop Radio

Lisa Laureta, Comedian
Jen Spyra, Writer, The Onion
James Finn Garner, Author, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories


The Variable Nature of a Reader’s Time

Read Your Work Well, and They’ll Be DYING to Buy Your Book; Read It Poorly, and They Will Merely Want to Die. Time is fluid and borderless; when reading aloud, time is merciless and must be used with precision.

Ian Belknap, Founder, Write Club

Writing Genre Fiction

Genre authors discuss the ins and outs of writing within a genre.

Moderator: Amanda Luedeke, MacGregor Literary

Jennifer Ann Coffeen, Author, Priceless Deception
Nnedi Okorafor, Author, Zahara the Windseeker
Mary Robinette Kowal, Author, the Glamourist Histories Trilogy


Confessions of a Content Hacker

Learn quick and dirty ways to produce compelling web content (e.g., your blog and website) and to promote it to your audience. A veteran content marketer shares his tricks for getting it written, getting it ranked, and getting it shared.

Andy Crestodina, Founder, Orbit Media Studios, and Author, Content Chemistry

I Did it Myself! Writers on Self-Publishing

Three successful,  self-published authors tell you how they did it and lessons they learned on the way.

Moderator: Mike Stephen, Outside the Loop Radio

Samantha Hoffman, Author, What More Could You Wish For
Shari Brady, Author, Wish I Could’ve Said Goodbye
Jill Salzman, Author, Found It!


Closing Keynote:
A Conversation With Alex Shakar

Alex Shakar, award-winning author of The Savage Girl and Luminarium shares the tale of his first book and his observations on the changes in the publishing world.

Brando’s Speakeasy

343 S. Dearborn St.

Saturday Reading:
Chicago Writers/Chicago Readers

Samantha Hoffman hosts an evening of readings from local writers. Join us for some food and drink, some fun, and some entertaining stories.

Readers Include:
Renee James
Kevin Leahy
Hannah Pittard
Randy Richardson
Chris Rice
James Finn Garner


SUNDAY Sept. 29, 2013

Chicago Public Library – Harold Washington Library Center


Pritzker Auditorium

Multi-Purpose Room

11:00 a.m. – Noon

PitchFest Premium – for CWC Attendees Only. Sold Out.


Let’s Get it On (the page):
The Truth About Sex in Fiction

Let’s face it–no one likes bad sex…writing. So let’s talk about some ways writers can (and should) use this very basic human act to intensify their stories, to make them real (even if imagined), and to help depict life. This talk is not about 50 Shades of Grey, but about the hundreds of shades of human emotion and intimacy.

Warning: Adult Content.

Patricia Ann McNair, Author, The Temple of Air

Talk Successful Non-Fiction Strategies

Is it a book or article? How to identify, sell and market nonfiction books. Avoid blind alleys and stop wasting time.

Robert K. Elder, Author and Host, The Film That Changed My Life


What Writers Need to Know About Copyrights

With the new digital age with instant access and distribution, what do today’s writers need to know about protecting their work and themselves from legal trouble.

Heather Liberman, Arts Attorney, Leavens, Strand, Glover & Adler, LLC

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Three Chicago authors, all with careers and books, tell you how to balance work and writing, and why you don’t want to quit your day job – even when your book sells.

Moderator: Keir Graff, Booklist

Samantha Hoffman, Author, What More Could You Wish For
Wesley Chu, Author, The Lives of Tao
Randy Richardson, Author, Cheeseland


Take the “Free” Out of Freelance

Practical answers to the question “How do I make money freelancing?” Freelancing is a continuing hustle, one that takes perseverance, networking skills, a little seed money and a stiff upper lip.

Glenn Jeffers, former freelance writer and current Editor, Kellogg magazine

Meet the Agents

A trio of agents share their insights and advice for finding and landing an agent. Dos and don’ts, along with some “really don’t do this!” stories will be shared.

Moderator: Keir Graff, Booklist

Danielle Egan-Miller, Literary Agent, Browne & Miller
Amanda Luedeke, Literary Agent, MacGregor Literary
Marcy Posner, Literary Agent, FolioLit


Closing Keynote: Rick Kogan
The Power of Words and the Value of Memory

Presented by Chicago Headline Club

In the beginning was the sound and the sound was with me and the sound was the sound of a typewriter…a sound that accompanies my first memories. I was born before what I would come to know as last call, on September 13, 1951 and in a couple of years was living in an apartment in Old Town, filled with the sound of the typewriter. My father wrote books. Why do I?

Rick Kogan, Author and Chicago Tribune Columnist


Thanks and Wrap Up

Mare Swallow, Founder, Chicago Writers Conference


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